Category Archives: Overcoming the Past

Walls

O to be a soul set free from all the chains that bind,
From strongholds and old habits and leave them all behind.
To become all that God has planned; to soar just like a bird,
To be a person shining bright; a light for the whole world.

Removing our defenses; tearing down our walls
To take an honest look at what is hidden in our souls;
To stop deflecting all our pain by pointing at another
And know that God sees secret faults that we work hard to cover.

O bow before our Father and take authority
Over all those strongholds; rebuke them and they’ll flee.
Admit the hidden sins to Him, He knows them anyway
And ask the Lord to break their hold in our lives on this day!

As God brings restoration and as He makes us new,
Instead of building walls to hide we’ll rebuild the ancient ruins;
The ruins that have cast their net from generations past,
That ravaged lives and destroyed gifts that God wanted to use.

O Father, make us whole today; create a new, clean heart,
That’s vulnerable and humble that satan can’t distort;
A heart that trusts our Father with all life’s ups and downs,
With hearts that worship and adore until we win a crown!

Rhonda Shelford Jansen

Redeemed

Redeemed

Her room was still like time had stopped, her eyes at nothing, stared,
Until a beep from the machine, brought her back crystal clear.
She looked down at her arm and saw the IV in its place,
Just for a moment, she had gone back, to another time and space.

Tears trickled down that old drawn face, her lips began to quiver,
As she recalled the years gone by and pain that she’d delivered.
It now was clear, as she looked back; it wasn’t clear back then,
She wished to have a second chance, some way to make amends.

The angry names her mother hurled still made her cringe in pain.
And knowing that she did the same brought grief, regret, and shame.
She didn’t end dysfunction, though that had been her hope,
And life went by so very fast, change ceased to be her goal.

She looked up at the ceiling, and cried out “Are You there?
Do You care about me? Can You remove despair?
Does hope exist? Can change be known? If so, then show the way,
Hear my prayer, see my heart; I’m buried in mistakes!”

Questions filled her weary mind as she lay there exhausted,
Is it true that God restores the hurt and broken hearted?
She shut her eyes; her shoulders shook, as tears continued falling,
With humbled heart, and contrite spirit; she longed for a new calling.

The hours trickled slowly by with no response from heaven,
But a strange rest had filled her heart and peace was like a fragrance.
That restful state was broken with a stroke upon her hair,
A voice that she had longed to hear said “Mom, I’ve news to share.”

“A year ago, at my ropes end, I gave my heart to Jesus,
Since that day I’ve changed and grown, more than I can measure.
I’m learning to submit my will and die to my own way.
The chains that tightly bound us, He’s breaking more each day.”

“I love you Mom, and know your plan was never one to hurt us,
You too were hurt, and it’s been said; hurt people… will hurt people
But hope has come into my heart, revealing a new path,
We cannot change the hurt-filled past, but hopes with us at last!”

“For I can see a future paved, with a new legacy
It’s there for us if we will grow and seek God on our knees,
In God’s all knowing timing, He’ll heal each hurt and scar,
Submitting all and letting go; our lives will be restored.

“The devil brought destruction, to our hearts and souls,
But God is here to lift us up and take back all control.
We can forgive each other, as Christ’s forgiven us.
He’ll wash us clean and make us new as we give Him our trust.”

“Dear Mother, I invite you, to join us in this path,
To know that you’re forgiven and all that’s passed… is past.”
That withered hand reached out to hers, as tears rolled down their faces,
With breaking voice the elder said, “Oh…the years I wasted.”

“I’m sorry for the things I’ve done, and for the words of pain.
I wish that I could turn back time and wash it all away.
But know dear, that I love you, and I’m sorry for the hurt,
I need the hope that you have found to mend my broken heart.”

Just before the morning broke with no bells or alarms,
With peaceful heart, she breathed her last, and went to Jesus’ arms.
Her children knew that she was free from bitterness and shame,
And they rejoiced, with hands upraised, to hope in Jesus’ name.

God used her children’s hurt-filled past; took beauty from the ashes,
As they reached out to hurting souls and others who had suffered.
No troubled path, no chains that bind, no mountain sized life problems,
Are greater than the power of God who brings good from our losses.
But stubborn hearts we must lay down; to change, we must be willing,
And as we do, we shall fulfill, God’s awesome, glorious, calling.

Rhonda Shelford Jansen

A Song Of Hope

“What is hope” I asked a Man
That stood in radiance, staff in hand
“How does one keep from growing weary
With broken heart and outlook, dreary? “

He looked at me through wizened eyes
And gently said “God hears your sighs
In every circumstance slow down
And look to God and His vast plan.”

“For in each life, comes toil and pain
And stress, and loss, and even shame
But don’t get stuck in that dark tunnel
With eyes fixed down and spirit pummeled.”

“For just like Joseph in the dungeon
With hopes and dreams lost in destruction
God orchestrated all his pain
To prepare him for a marvelous thing.”

“So walk THROUGH trials; eyes fixed on God
With trusting heart though life be flawed
And one sweet day, the good will come
And beauty from ashes will be your song.”

I stared into those holy eyes
And saw a story that could not hide
For He had struggled, suffered, and died
He knew what loss and shame felt like.

In that moment I began to see
That all my pain is not about me
For there is purpose to be attained
And mighty victories in Jesus’ name.

The struggles and loss, the pain and the shame
Serve a great purpose if hope-filled we’ll stay
Allowing God to work in the moment
Waiting on Him to honor His promise.

That EVEYTHING works together for good
For those that love God and follow His word
So never give up; be a prisoner of Hope
For the tables will turn; In that truth… stand assured.

Rhonda Shelford Jansen

Zechariah 9:12 (NIV) 12 Return to your fortress, you prisoners of hope;
even now I announce that I will restore twice as much to you.

Well Done My Faithful Servant

This is it. We have one life to be our very best.
To make the most of every day; to live our lives with zest,
To value most the things that last; to not be easily daunted,
To focus hard on good and right and blessings God has granted.
Though life is sometimes filled with trials; still what a gift it is!
There’s always good, if we’ll just look, for God is in our midst!

Each day live life like there’s no more, with purpose and intent,
With focus on relationships and in them, always give.
For when we reach our final hour, that’s all we’ll care about,
Not all the things that we acquired or a big bank account.
Did we love with all our heart? …Did we pour out kindness?
Did we forgive when we were wronged, like God’s forgiven us?

God has a special purpose, that He designed you for,
And you have gifts and talents, that should not be ignored.
For you can make a difference in this lost and lonely world,
And you are valued by our God, like gems and precious pearls.
We weren’t created to exist in passive isolation,
But we were made to grow and share Almighty God’s salvation.

When morning breaks take time to pause; commit the day to God,
Decide to bloom where you are planted and on each problem, trod.
Don’t be defined by past mistakes, but rather learn from them,
And you will blossom in your life and truly overcome!
Pride will never bring true gain… but it will bring a fall,
For there is nothing we can do, that God does not control.

Oh Father help us see in life, the things that really matter.
Help us fulfill Your glorious call and raise a victor’s banner!
Help us know our purpose, and help us see our gifts,
Help us rise when we could fall; pour courage into us.
Then on that day, when we stand before our God and Maker,
We’ll hear the words come from our God “Well done my faithful servant!”

Rhonda shelford Jansen

My Hope, My Joy, My Stay!

God’s with me when I flounder and when I stress and fight,
He holds me close when life is hard and full of pain and strife.
When my faith starts to falter, when I want MY control;
When I cry out that life’s not fair and can’t take anymore;
When He tells me to “Just let go” and I just cannot do it,
Because this isn’t what I planned and now I’m struggling through it.
You know I’m straining hard to keep the future like I planned,
And for a moment I trust You; the next, I take command.

I open up my bible, I cry out on my knees,
I quote and say Your promises, that usually set me free;
But here I sit in anxious doubt so desperate for an answer;
O help me get through this dark book for I don’t like this chapter.
There’s anger and frustration, boiling deep in me,
I’m trying to keep it in control and not let others see.
But I am to my breaking point; O Father rescue me!
For I am lost and needy, O come and set me free!

Hear me Lord, my Father…I know You know what’s best,
So help me trust You even when, life does not make sense.
Please help me to surrender all my hopes and dreams,
To let You to take my trembling hand and follow where You lead.
Help me to lay down all my pride and what I think is best,
Replace it with a trust so true that I walk through this test.
Fill my heart with grace and love; free me from these chains;
Take away my fear and doubt, O turn my loss to gain!

I know Your ways aren’t my ways; I know You’re infinite;
I know that You are sovereign; That You’re magnificent!
That You see the whole picture, the beginning from the end;
So I release all my control and on You, I’ll depend.
I know Your plans are good for me so help me to let go,
And in this fire pour Your peace into this stormy soul.
Bring the change You want in me, I lay down my own way,
To You my Great Redeemer, my Hope, my Joy, my Stay!

Who is the Rock, except our God; His strength is always sure.
He arms us with His power and keeps our way secure.
He makes our feet like hinds feet so we can scale the heights;
He trains our hands for battle; our sword, our shield and might.
Your right hand will sustain us; Your help will make us great;
You clear the path before us so our ankles don’t give way.
O blessing, honor glory, to the King of Kings,
For He alone makes our dark, light; He crushes satan’s sting!
Pslams 18

Rhonda Shelford Jansen

The Glass Half Full

Why is the mind so easily drawn to everything that’s wrong?
Why is the natural bend to let the bad stuff bring us down?
Why is it we don’t focus, on what is good and right?
When good and bad live side by side; our focus is a choice.

Is the glass half empty… or is it half-way full?
How do we choose to see our lives and trials that are known?
Will we be over-comers that walk in victory?
Do we know that our mindset will define our destiny?

Weariness from trials, battles for control,
Hurts and wrongs and living pain can darken tender souls.
If we were raised in families that thought in negatives,
Then we are set to do the same… for it’s our heritage.

But if we recognize the truth, that dark thoughts are a choice,
Bad patterns can be broken; our hearts learn to rejoice.
Instead of trying to control, circumstance and life,
Each trial can become a chance to change; to grow; to rise.

The day is what we make it, we choose our attitude.
A thankful heart will shine and change a heavy, darkened view.
Choose to be a shining light instead of a dark cloud,
And we’ll fulfill our purpose and inspire those around.

O Lord help me to hear the words that come out of my mouth
Help me to quickly recognize each negative, dark thought
O give me words of light and hope from a thankful heart
So I bring glory to Your name and brighten up the dark.

Rhonda Shelford Jansen

Sometimes negative thinking is a stronghold and binding the spirit of negativity in the name of Jesus and loosing a thankful spirit along with being aware of our thought patterns are both required to truly change a negative mindset. Being negative is like an umbrella over our heads that deflects God’s blessings and purpose away from us.
Blessings to you.

 

 

 

The Baggage Handler

A friend of mine recently shared about the baggage she had hauled around for years. She wished that she’d understood the truth earlier in life that we simply aren’t meant to carry the hurts and the pain from the past.  When we refuse to let them go, the sheer weight of it holds us back and keeps us down. Her story, inspired me to write this poem.

The baggage that I haul around
Is cumbersome and heavy
It’s bursting with pain I hide
That part of life that’s messy
I know that you can’t see my bags
So I try to pretend
That my life has been perfect
When it’s been kind of grim.

Sometimes when I am all alone
I open up the bags
I look inside and cry about
The wounded child within
The little one that needed love
When hurt and pain occurred
The child longing just to hear
One encouraging word
That teenager that struggled
From a terrible event
The young adult who made mistakes
And then felt guilt and shame
My troubles and my trials
That I work hard to manage
Each have their place; hidden away
Deep within my baggage.

If I let go of all these bags
My load would be so light
But I can’t leave that wounded child
How could that be right
It would be an injustice
To set the contents free
For I still want to make things right
For then I will have peace
So I just keep on struggling
Beneath the weight I carry
Feeling like I can’t go on
Though I keep on trying
I tell myself “Keep pushing on”
“Keep holding it together”
But all the weight is pressing in
I’m breaking from the pressure.

A friend told me, I wasn’t meant
To struggle with this load
That Jesus died to bear my yoke
Though it’s dark and heavy
He doesn’t care about my past
He only sees the future
So I looked up and gave my heart
To my Lord and Savior
Then in my deep exhaustion
I laid down all my bags
To let the contents come out
To expose those filthy rags
I took a breath, undid the latch
I let my Savior see…
And as He took my baggage…
I cried… for I was free

Matthew 11:28
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”

Rhonda Shelford Jansen

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The Baggage Handler

I recently heard a friend talk about the baggage she had hauled around for years.  She wished that she understood the truth earlier in life that we simply aren’t  meant to carry the hurts and the pain from the past, because they hold us back and keep us down.  Her story, inspired me to write this poem.

The baggage that I haul around
Is cumbersome and heavy
It’s bursting with pain I hide
That part of life that’s messy
I know that you can’t see my bags
So I try to pretend
That my life has been perfect
When it’s been kind of grim.

Sometimes when I am all alone
I open up the bags
I look inside and cry about
The wounded child within
The little one that needed love
When hurt and pain occurred
The child longing just to hear
One encouraging word
That teenager that struggled
From a terrible event
The young adult who made mistakes
And then felt guilt and shame
My troubles and my trials
That I work hard to manage
Each have their place; hidden away
Deep within my baggage.

If I let go of all these bags
My load would be so light
But I can’t leave that wounded child
How could that be right
It would be an injustice
To set the contents free
For I still want to make things right
For then I will have peace
So I just keep on struggling
Beneath the weight I carry
Feeling like I can’t go on
Though I keep on trying
I tell myself “Keep pushing on”
“Keep holding it together”
But all the weight is pressing in
I’m breaking from the pressure.

A friend told me, I wasn’t meant
To struggle with this load
That Jesus died to bear my yoke
Though it’s dark and heavy
He doesn’t care about my past
He only sees the future
So I looked up and gave my heart
To my Lord and Savior
Then in my deep exhaustion
I laid down all my bags
To let the contents come out
To expose those filthy rags
I took a breath, undid the latch
I let my Savior see…
And as He took my baggage…
I cried… for I was free

Matthew 11:28
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.

Rhonda Shelford Jansen

God’s Healing Hand On a Wounded Heart

Lord God, I kneel at your feet

Head resting in my hands

Tears of pain flowing without restraint

 

My soul, battered, is without hope

My dreams of love and acceptance gone

Success, I’m unable to define

 

You let me cry, uninterrupted

Knowing I must taste the bitterness of pain

And acknowledge its vise like grip on my heart

 

Slowly I sit,  lifting my head and hands up to you

an honest prayer is uttered, no more pretense,

pride and self-righteousness are gone.

 

“take my battered heart, oh Lord

It feels constricted and small

Like a piece of paper, crumpled into a ball.

 

It’s beat is irregular,

emphasizing the deep wounds

and my desperate state of mind.”

 

Your strong hands encompass mine

Comforting and warm

Applying pressure without pain

 

My wounded heart beats a little faster

A  rhythm I’m unfamiliar with

Steady, strong, sure, secure

 

You, oh Lord, massage the healing balm

Of forgiveness and acceptance into my heart

A spark of hope glows deep within.

 

The Holy Spirit breathes the breath of life

Into my heart, mind and body

Smoothing out the crumpled edges of my life

 

Lord God Almighty, you are the great healer

Of wounded hearts

Restoring hope and purpose to those who love you

 

To God be all glory and praise.

 

Debora Shelford Hobbs

Below are the lines from a chore in Jeremy Camp’s Healing Hand of God and a link to his video. Enjoy this beautiful song.

I have seen, The healing hand of God, Reaching out and mending broken hearts. Taste and see the fullness of His peace, And hold on to what’s being held out. The healing hand of God.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_-aE7zQTeEg

 

 

Hope in our Frailty

God frequently uses people for His glory that we as humans would never choose. That fact gives me hope that no matter how insignificant, untalented, or floundering we or those we love might be, there is always hope. The bible is full of unlikely individuals that have made a vast difference in the world in spite of the odds. The very people you and I might pass over are often the ones that God chooses because he sees into the heart and chooses the ones that have a heart for Him. He doesn’t care about who we are, where we’re from, or how much money we have. With that in mind, who knows what God has in store for you and those you love!

A simple man with no big plans
No lofty goals consume him.
He didn’t come from wealth or gain
Nor high class education.
Most think he won’t amount to much
His future’s etched in stone,
But thank the Lord, God values man
By his heart alone.
A waitress working hard each day
Just trying to pay the bills.
She wasn’t born to silver spoon
Nor were her wants fulfilled.
Just working class and most would think
For her there’ll be no change;
But we don’t know, what God has planned
Nor what He has arranged.
God sees beyond her circumstance
Fulfilling hidden dreams.
Think about a fisherman,
Who worked in Galilee.
A simple man from lower class
He was no Pharisee.
He worked each day, just catching fish;
Obscure from most mankind.
Until the Son of God called out,
“Come fish for souls of man.”
From that moment forward
Peter was transformed,
When God perplexed the ways of man,
And shattered social norms.
David was the youngest son;
A simple shepherd boy.
He had no right to leadership;
Nor kingly path in store.
But God saw David differently
He cared not for mans rules;
For He knew David’s heart was right;
Humble, pure, and true.
God chose the one least obvious
To demonstrate His might;
And David’s place in history
Became Christ’s holy line.

 

God is not confined by man
We cannot know His mind.
He chooses those we least expect
To show that He is God.
He doesn’t look at privileged lives,
Nor beauty, fame, or brains.
He looks into the heart of man
And chooses in that way.
So if your life seems simple;
No wealth or fame in sight.
It really doesn’t matter,
For God only sees your heart.
Do you have a heart for Him?
A longing in your soul?
To serve and grow, to always change;
To give His love to all?
If you do, then rest assured
That God will bless you too.
And you will see what God has planned,
For someone just like you.

 

Rhonda Shelford Jansen

Forgiving, Again

I’m sitting at my desk with the computer on, iPod playing with an inviting, warm mug of coffee sitting next to me.  They are waiting patiently for me to start work, but I don’t.  My feet are resting on the edge of my desk while I hold our big, fat cat in my lap.  She contentedly purrs and occasionally nuzzled me on the chin.  Absently, I notice how her soft, heavy, weight in my lap feels comforting.  I continue to stare out the window lost in thought.

My chest feels heavy like an invisible brick is pushing down hard between my breasts, my head aches, but it’s the heavy sensation on my chest that’s troubling me.  The weight isn’t the beginning of a heart attack; it’s the result of years of hurt.  This brick has been carefully constructed by the fibrous tissue of judgment, verbal abuse, bitterness, unjust behavior, self-protection, and un-forgiveness.  And it’s heavy, pressing down on my sternum making it hard to breathe.

The unusual thing about this brick is that it’s frequently weightless, as if gone from my life.  During this time my heart is hopeful and I want to spend time considering and praying about my relationships.  With a hopeful spirit I choose to forgive; I choose to lay my hurts down before God. I desire to draw closer to Him and see others through His eyes.

Then something happens to set off old patterns of abuse and hurtful words are hurled through the air and I feel the impact of them.   I feel them working their way into the brick, finding a comfortable resting place next to the other festering pain.  The brick is back, heavier than before, pressing mercilessly down on my sternum and I wonder how all those negative, hurtful emotions from the past can come back with such force after I have chosen to forgive and let them go. 

So, here I sit at my desk with every necessary tool for a productive day.  But instead of working, I watch the tree branches move to the rhythm of the wind while pondering the uncomfortable pressure of the emotional brick on my chest.  I want to know how to truly lay down the hurt from yesterday.  I want to forgive so deeply that past pain will not have the power to mix with and amplify the hurts of today.  But, I’m human and for some unknown reason God made us emotionally complex beings that feel passionately, struggle mightily, and desperately need His guidance.

With this knowledge I ask God for his forgiveness and help.  I acknowledge my pain is real, but so is theirs.  I admit my part in the situation, because I’m not innocent.  Then I thank God for the good within my loved one and within myself; we are both God’s children.  And the brick gets lighter; for now.  Each time I practice seeking God’s truth in the midst of emotional pain they strengthen me and give me courage to forgive, again.

I’m grateful that God’s forgiveness is not like that of humans, Psalm 103:12 says, “As far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions (sins) from us.”  This verse is comforting and humbling; how can God forgive so completely?  I long to be able to forgive like God, but as of today, I don’t fully understand how to forgive the transgressions of others.  Maybe that’s the point. Maybe our seriously limited ability to forgive keeps us humble before God.

Debora Shelford Hobbs

 

 

The Bitterness Weed

The Bitterness Weed

Bitterness:    Strong and sharp in taste: having a sharp strong unpleasant taste.  Angry and resentful Difficult to accept: mentally painful, or very hard to accept Synonyms: sour, acid, acidic, tart, astringent, vinegary, pungent, harsh, acrid

I’ve been thinking about the act of being bitter and how bitterness, if not dealt with, can affect every aspect of our lives.  Bitterness can blind a person to the love that is around them.  Bitterness has the power to turn a person inward, making them selfish and self-consumed.  A bitter heart becomes brittle and intolerant.  A bitter person will find the bad in every situation, unable to see the good.  Bitterness can strangle our creative energy.  And a bitter heart is unable to open up to God’s love, it is unable to trust in God’s love because it is always in a state of self-protection.

Bitterness is like a weed, it is a living organism that need sustenance to survive and when it’s thriving it has the power to weaken our emotional, physical, and spiritual health.  The Bitterness Weed is nourished by our judgmental, negative, self-righteous, and unforgiving thoughts.  Because bitterness is living, it will either grow or wither depending on our ability to starve it with forgiveness or feed it with judgment.  Starving bitterness is not for the weak of spirit.  It requires surrendering our right to justifiable anger and judgment.  It demands that we not seek retribution ourselves for our pain, but allow God’s justice, which is a mystery to most of us, to have control.

All of us at one time or another have thought, “They don’t deserve forgiveness” or “It’s not fair, they feel no pain and are suffering no consequence for their destructive behavior” and we’re right, it’s not fair from a human point of view.  So, in an effort to bring justice to the situation, we self-righteously judge the individual deeming them unworthy of forgiveness.  And then we move on, right?  Nope.

The problem is we’re not capable of judging others harshly and moving on.  We continue to judge them in our thoughts and before we know it, we’re feeding the weed of bitterness.  Each time we ruminate over their bad actions and reassure ourselves of our righteous judgment, the bitterness weed grows stronger. Before long our outlook on life becomes more negative and our prayer time less frequent, and the Bible sits unopened for longer stretches of time on our night stand.

Before long we become bitter, leaving a sharp and unpleasant taste in the mouths of our friends and family.  Unbeknown to ourselves we’ve become acrid in our attitudes and relationships.  We have officially become bitter because of our self-righteous right to judge and not forgive.  We now have a healthy, bitter-weed garden within our spirit that only God can eradicate.

It’s true that starving bitterness is not for the weak of spirit.  It takes unmeasurable amounts of faith, humility, and forgiveness to starve bitterness from our spirit.  But if we choose to do so, God will help us, He will give us strength when we have none, and the courage to continue to forgive even when it seems like justice is not being served.  God’s ways can be a mystery to us, but when we follow them they always replace bitterness with beauty.

 

Debora Shelford Hobbs

 

Colossians 3:12-14 Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.

Ephesians 4:31-32 Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.

 

 

 

God’s Healing Hand On a Wounded Heart

healing-hand-of-god

I kneel at your feet

Head resting in my hands

Tears of pain flowing without restraint

 

My soul, battered, is without hope

My dreams of love and acceptance gone

Success, I’m unable to define

 

You let me cry, uninterrupted

Knowing I must taste the bitterness of pain

And acknowledge its vise like grip on my heart

 

Slowly I sit and lift my hands up to you

“Take my battered heart, oh Lord

It feels constricted and small from the wounds

 

Like a piece of paper, crumpled into a ball

No longer resembling its original purpose

Rendered of little value or use.”

 

Your strong hands encompass mine

Comforting and warm

Applying pressure without pain

 

My wounded heart beats a little faster

With a rhythm I’m unfamiliar with

Steady, strong, sure, secure

 

A healing balm of forgiveness and acceptance

Is  massaged into my heart

A spark of hope glows deep within

 

The Holy Spirit breathes the breath of life

Into my heart, mind and body

Smoothing out the crumpled edges of my life

 

Lord God Almighty, you are the great healer

Of wounded hearts and messed up lives

Restoring hope and purpose to those who love you

 

To God be all glory and praise.

 

Debora Shelford Hobbs

 

Below are the lines from a chorus in Jeremy Camp’s Healing Hand of God and a link to his video. Enjoy this beautiful song.

I have seen, The healing hand of God, Reaching out and mending broken hearts. Taste and see the fullness of His peace, And hold on to what’s being held out. The healing hand of God.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_-aE7zQTeEg

Are You There God?

i-ask-god-the-question-why

Psalm 46:1 “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.”

 

Are you there God, listening to my prayer?

Can you see my breaking heart?

Do you care God, that my strength is gone?

My body and mind are numb.

 

Are you there God, listening to my prayer?

Can you see my parents, ravaged with dementia?

Drooling and muttering, not knowing my name.

I no longer exist to them.

 

Are you there God, listening to my prayer?

Can you see my friend lost in mental illness?

Homeless, clueless, mad at the world

Unable to make decisions for his own best interest.

 

Are you there God, listening to my prayer?

Diligently I work, giving my all

While others refuse to contribute

Then take credit for the results as their own.

 

Are you there God, listening to my prayer?

My loved one is addicted and lives in denial

It’s always someone else’s fault

They’ve mastered the art of victimhood.

 

Are you there God, Listening to my prayer?

The world is crazy, out of control.

Good is called evil and evil good.

Those who speak truth are shunned.

Those who speak lies are called leaders.

 

I cry out to God, my heart is breaking.

God, do you hear my prayer?

Are you aware of my loved ones pain?

Please show me that you are there.

 

God answers in His word

Yes, I am here

I am near the brokenhearted and save the crushed in spirit.

I will wipe away every tear from your eye.

 

I am your fortress and high tower

I will wrap my wings for protection around you

My power is made perfect in weakness

I will never leave you nor forsake you

 

I will renew your strength.

You will soar on wings like eagles;

You will run and not grow weary,

You will walk and not be faint.

 

God is our refuge and strength,

An ever-present help in trouble.

Even in darkness my light shines.

Yes, I am with you.

 

Debora Shelford Hobbs

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

God Made You…You

gods-plan

Know you have a purpose, that God designed you for
Each trait and quirky detail that makes you who you are
He molded you with intent, designed you through and through
So never doubt the Potter’s work; see yourself through His view.

Our holy God decided, to make you like you are
There’s no mistake, you’re wonderful; a glorious shining star
Care not for the world’s values, the world knows not the truth
Embrace what God created; for you are not a fluke.

God gave us gifts and talents, entrusted for good use
To grow and nurture every day, so God’s plan can be loosed
No matter if they’re great or small, use them for His glory
Don’t discount what God’s given you, for He wrote your life story.

The devil wants to ravage, what God designed in us
He works to twist God’s perfect plan with lies that mar and crush
He takes life’s hurt and trials, to warp us through and through
He takes a hurtful word, and convinces us it’s true.

He even says we’re worthless; why would we even try
And then says selfishness is good; all means are justified
But we are vessels formed with love; designed before our birth
It’s satan lies that misalign, what God himself brought forth.

So recognize the devil’s goal is to make you crumble
And when he throws his poison darts; stand, don’t fall or stumble
Don’t believe the devil’s lies that steal and foster shame
For God made you with great intent, so break all satan’s chains.

Know you have authority to bruise the devil’s head
To walk upon his every lie, to become all God’s planned
God loves you and he made you, just the way you are
Fall on your knees and seek His face, he’ll melt away your scars.

God has a plan for each of us, even though we’ve failed
And as we humbly yield to Him, with new wings we shall sail
What satan used for evil, our God will use for gain
O Praise the Lord, we are set free, exalt the His holy name.

Rhonda Shelford Jansen

Psalms 139:   13,14 For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.

God’s Great Symphony

Image result for pictures of a symphony
The flow of God’s timing released in our lives
Requires our trust and to stop taking charge
It puts faith front and center and God on His throne
And trusting God’s timing for He alone knows.

You’ve been praying and praying for that unsaved soul
You’ve been asking the Lord to set free all your goals
Rest and wait; He’s at work, in ways we can’t see
Its God’s perfect rhythm and timing we need.

If what we think is best, is not moving forward
If our hopes and our dreams are lost deep in the forest
Don’t give up, don’t despair, and don’t take control
Let the unforced rhythm, of God’s script, soothe your soul.

As long as we’re breathing, there’s a chance to touch lives
With each human contact we’re God’s hands and His light
Even if our lives seem insignificant and small
We’re notes in God’s rhythm and play a great part.

Each life in this world is wanted by God
The great and the small are equally flawed
He has ordained what each man’s roll will be
It’s the unforced rhythm, of God’s great symphony.

Rest where you are, move forward in faith
Submitting all outcomes; He knows the right pace
He hears all our prayers; holds our tears in His hand
As we wait on His timing He’ll help us to stand.

God’s timing is music, it’s a heavenly chorus
As we wait on our Lord, it is beauty before Him
We praise You O God, the true Great I AM
For only You know the beginning from end.

Rhonda Shelford Jansen

The Importance of Being Grateful

                    cross in sunset

Pam sat in the small auditorium eagerly waiting to hear the main speaker at the church’s women’s retreat.  The theme of the retreat was “Living a Grateful Life” and she desperately wanted help in understanding how to live daily with a grateful attitude.  Somehow over the last several years her attitude toward life in general and her family specifically had become negative.  Pam knew her negative attitude was damaging her most precious relationships and that it wasn’t honoring God.  With her whole heart she desired to change, but it was difficult establishing a new way of thinking.

The speaker began. “Lately I’ve been thinking about how important the act of being grateful is and how it can effect our everyday lives.  Learning to live a grateful life is such an important goal that when I type “being grateful” into the Amazon search box the results show 22,226 titles concerning this topic.  The Bible has more than 68 verses that specifically address being grateful or thankful to God for and in all our circumstances.   Pam thought, “68 verses!  I didn’t realize how important being grateful was to God.” 

The speaker continued.  “Why is it important to God that we Christians discipline ourselves in having a grateful spirit?  I think it’s because the act of being thankful focuses our minds on God, and His faithful hand of provision.  It puts the emphases on God and diminishes the frustration of our daily trials.  Practicing a grateful attitude helps us see and appreciate the many blessings God has given us, even when the blessings turn into momentary trials. ”Pam identified with this last statement; so many things she’d once considered a blessing had become trials in her life.

The speaker went on.  “A grateful attitude is a powerful attitude because it can change our body language, tone of voice, thought pattern, and interaction with others.  A grateful attitude increases our energy and inspires those around us.  A grateful attitude will help keep us mindful of the fact that we are blessed by God and he loves us mightily.  A grateful attitude may not change our situation or circumstances, but it will help give us strength while going through them and make our days much more enjoyable.”  Pam wanted to be grateful; she wanted to be a blessing to others.

Next the speaker addressed the damaging effects of a negative attitude.  “On the other hand a negative attitude will have the opposite effect.  It will drain our energy, change our body language, tone of voice, thought pattern, and interaction with others, for the worse.  And it will discourage those around you.  A negative attitude will hinder our prayer life and Bible reading.  That’s why as Christians it’s imperative that we discipline ourselves daily to have a grateful attitude.”  Pam felt like the speaker was describing her and felt deep pain within her spirit.  She prayed for God’s forgiveness.

Concluding, the speaker addressed specifically how a God honoring attitude of gratefulness impacts the family.  “Sometimes our greatest blessings can also be our greatest struggles.  For example our families are indeed a great blessing.  However, when our husband’s idiosyncrasies start bugging us or when the children are whining, fighting, and generally driving us crazy, they can feel more like a curse than a blessing. This is when we need to practice the discipline of being grateful instead of giving in to negative thoughts about our loved ones.  If we allow that initial negative thought to take root in our minds, it can quickly grow and before long our annoyance with a few little quirks becomes the filter through which we see our spouses or children.  That’s why we need to discipline our minds to be thankful to God for the many blessings He has given us including our families instead of dwelling on our irritation with them.  When we choose to do this it will bring our negative thoughts into captivity and release ourselves to love as God has instructed us to love.”

That’s what Pam wanted, to honor God by disciplining her mind to be grateful, enabling her to love as God intended.  The speaker passed out a list of Bible verses about gratefulness, Pam read them and determined to use them as her daily guide to disciplining her mind to be grateful daily.

Psalm 100: 1-5 (A Psalm for giving thanks.)  Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth. Worship the LORD with gladness; come before him with joyful songs. Know that the LORD is God. It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture. Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. For the LORD is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations. 

 Ephesians 5:20 Giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ,

Philippians 4:6   do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.

Philippian 4:8   Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.

Thessalonians 5:18 Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

Psalm 28:7 The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and I am helped. My heart leaps for joy and I will give thanks to him in song.

Debora Shelford Hobbs

 

 

My Child; Come Forth!

free

Call forth Your people, into their true purpose
Out of the tomb and the grave clothes that bind us
Strip off the chains that have taken us captive
Set free our purpose to blossom and practice.

Sometimes it’s comfortably safe in the tomb
Where no one can hurt us and failure can’t loom
But each life’s important to God’s perfect plan
And failure to launch is what Satan demands.

Life’s pressures and hurts have blinded our eyes
They’ve robbed us of purpose and bound us in lies
But God has a plan for you and for me
To unbridle our gifts and set our talents free.

Gifts aren’t just arts, or teaching, or leading
But also of serving, hospitality, and giving
Together we form an ornate tapestry
That blesses our God and proclaims His majesty!

Lazarus was done; he’d been buried for days
It seemed all was lost and there was no way
But God’s mighty power called him out of the grave
To start life again, to be new; to be saved!

Out of the tomb, our mighty God calls us
He say’s “Child come forth, be free from the darkness!”
Strip off the grave clothes and soar like a bird
Become what I made you and no longer fear!

Embrace who God’s made you; you’re His great creation
Blossom and grow in your purpose and station
Do all that you do, as unto our Lord
Not for worldly approval that will come and go.

Bless Your name Father, our Creator, our Lord
Its You, Mighty God that we will adore
May we be a fragrance of blessing to You
As we use what You give us, with hearts humble and true.

 

Rhonda Shelford Jansen

Well Done My Faithful Servant!

purpose

This is it. We have one life to be our very best.
To make the most of every day; to live our lives with zest,
To value most the things that last; to not be easily daunted,
To focus hard on good and right and blessings God has granted.
Though life is sometimes filled with trials; still what a gift it is!
There’s always good, if we’ll just look, for God is in our midst!

Each day live life like there’s no more, with purpose and intent,
With focus on relationships and in them, always give.
For when we reach our final hour, that’s all we’ll care about,
Not all the things that we acquired or a big bank account.
Did we love with all our heart? …Did we pour out kindness?
Did we forgive when we were wronged, like God’s forgiven us?

God has a special purpose, that He designed you for,
And you have gifts and talents, that should not be ignored.
For you can make a difference in this lost and lonely world,
And you are valued by our God, like gems and precious pearls.
We weren’t created to exist in passive isolation,
But we were made to grow and share Almighty God’s salvation.

When morning breaks take time to pause; commit the day to God,
Decide to bloom where you are planted and on each problem, trod.
Don’t be defined by past mistakes, but rather learn from them,
And you will blossom in your life and truly overcome!
Pride will never bring true gain… but it will bring a fall,
For there is nothing we can do, that God does not control.

Oh Father help us see in life, the things that really matter.
Help us fulfill Your glorious call and raise a victor’s banner!
Help us know our purpose, and help us see our gifts,
Help us rise when we could fall; pour courage into us.
Then on that day, when we stand before our God and Maker,
We’ll hear the words come from our God “Well done my faithful servant!”

Rhonda Shelford Jansen

Take Every Thought Captive

Take every thought captive and you will stand strong
Resist all temptation to fixate on wrongs.
Focus on things that are good, pure, and true,
With a heart that is thankful and mind that’s renewed.
We must stay alert to our thoughts and dark musings
Or they’ll take control and like mountains, stand looming.
They’ll shadow the light that God always shines
The light that brings hope into hearts and to minds.

Negative thoughts run us down rabbit holes
And Its hard to get out, for the thoughts take control.
They cover God’s truth and seep through the mind
And to everything lovely, the eyes become blind.
Allowing our thoughts to grow negative roots
Will taint every word and produce ugly fruit.
They will rob needed sleep and waste precious time
And Satan just smiles for we bought his lie.

Focus your mind on things worthy of praise
Renewing your mind in the Lord every day.
Be constantly thankful, let joy set the tone
For negative thoughts will dry up our bones.
If we will just trust Him and see through His eyes
With hearts full of worship to our God on high.
The peace that surpasses all man’s understanding
Will rule in our hearts over negative rantings.

Let your heart not be troubled, do not be afraid
For we are God’s children so don’t be dismayed.
Take every thought captive in line with God’s truth
Confess sin and failings and His peace will ensue.
Press on to the goal that we have through Christ
And bless Father God with our thoughts, words, and lives.
Help us oh Lord to recall Your commands
So we might obey and in holiness stand.

May we hear our own words; may we become wise
So we see ourselves through Your holy eyes.
We extol You our God; bless Your name forever
Array us in hope no matter the weather.
May the words of our heart and our meditations
Be acceptable to You our Savior; Redeemer.
We bow before You, the King of all Kings
May Your light fill our hearts and Your peace fill our dreams.

Rhonda Shelford Jansen
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